She's so Cult

She’s so Cult: Tania Boler of Elvie

Shrouded in shame and a problem that so many women confront but feel scared to discuss, a weak pelvic floor affects one in three women and 80% of new mums. Super cute (but serious!), Elvie’s {Pelvic Floor Trainer} encourages ‘workouts’ that keep muscles strong to enhance intimacy, help bladder control and accelerate postnatal recovery. 

It’s likely you once did five quick pelvic ‘clenches’ then wrote the experience off as hard work (guilty) but, Elvie is here to help shatter the stigmas and urge you to start taking care of your Kegels! Any questions? We spoke to the brand’s founder – Tania Boler – who told us her story, shared tips and explained why you probably need an ‘Elvie’…   

{Cult Beauty} Hi Tania! First thing’s first… for those who are bewildered, what’s the Elvie Trainer?

{Tania Boler} The {Elvie Trainer} is a smart Kegel trainer that helps women strengthen and tone their pelvic floor. The small device is placed inside the vagina and connects to an app via Bluetooth to guide women through fun, five-minute workouts by visualising their pelvic floor contractions on the smart-phone screen.

{CB} What sparked the idea for ‘Elvie’? What’s the brand story?

{TB} Like lots of women, I found that becoming a mother was a real shock to the system and I hadn’t realised how much change your body goes through.

My husband is French and I discovered that it’s normal for French women to attend pelvic floor rehabilitation classes after birth to help their bodies re-strengthen. But I couldn’t find any at-home solutions and there hadn’t been much innovation at all, which is crazy when one in three women experience pelvic floor problems, like lower back pain, bladder control issues and organ prolapse. ​The idea with {Elvie Trainer} was to use a connected tech device to give women real-time feedback on their pelvic floor exercises, making it easy, effective and fun.

It became obvious that women’s health was being underserved by technology and we saw an opportunity to pioneer smarter technology for women. Our mission is to improve women’s lives with intelligent tech and we are always thinking of new ways we can do that.

{CB} And, just to clarify for those who may not know, what is the pelvic floor? What do Kegel exercises actually ​do?​

{TB} Your pelvic floor is a layer of muscles that sits like a hammock between your tailbone and pubic bone. They support your pelvic organs, including your bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. Kegel exercises are targeted exercises to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor, helping to improve problems like incontinence.

{CB} Many of us will have half-heartedly attempted Kegel exercises at some point – only to resign them to the ‘too much effort’ sidelines (guilty!). Why are Kegel exercises so important?

{TB} A strong pelvic floor is important for core stability, bladder control, postnatal recovery and even sexual pleasure ​so we need to maintain our pelvic floor health with regular Kegel exercises.

{CB} Apparently more women suffer from a weak pelvic floor than have hay fever. For something that’s ​so​ common, why is it still so ‘taboo’?

{TB} Whether it’s incontinence, postpartum depression or female pleasure, women’s bodies have been shrouded in taboo for centuries. It’s an incredibly intimate part of your body so it’s not something we tend to talk openly about, which can mean that women aren’t aware of how common the symptoms of a weak pelvic floor so they may feel embarrassed. The problem with this is that it means it often takes years for women to seek help and many endure unnecessary suffering.

We’re creating solutions to the problem, while also encouraging women to talk more openly about it to help normalise the issue so that more women seek help sooner.For many women, using {Elvie Trainer} is the first time that they have really thought about their intimate health.

{CB} It’s likely many women have resigned themselves to bladder weakness – either because they’re embarrassed to seek help or just assume that nothing can be done. How soon can exercising with the Elvie Trainer make a difference?

{TB} Every woman is different so it really depends on their current pelvic floor health and how they do Kegel exercises, but many see results in as little as two weeks.

{CB} How often should we ‘exercise’? And is it possible to do too much?

{TB} Kegel exercises need to be done regularly to be effective so we recommend using {Elvie Trainer} at least three times a week. Each workout only takes five minutes so it’s relatively easy to fit into your normal routine. Some women choose to workout more often if they want to see results faster. It’s nearly impossible to overdo it but some women may have more difficulty relaxing their pelvic floor, which is also important and something the ‘Elvie’ can help to identify.

{CB} Apart from childbirth, what are the primary causes of weak pelvic floor. Are there any other triggers we should know about?

{TB} Lots of people think that childbirth is the only cause but, whether you have a vaginal birth or C-section, pregnancy puts additional pressure on your pelvic floor as a result of weight gain and changes in your centre of gravity. High impact sports or exercise, like running and tennis, can put additional strain on the pelvic floor muscles since they have to work harder to support your pelvic organs. For example, we find that women who do a lot of crossfit can have issues with incontinence. Other causes could be ageing, menopause, weight gain, genetics, and inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle.

{CB} Can you use the Elvie Trainer during pregnancy?

{TB} Yes, you can use {Elvie Trainer} during pregnancy as long as you do not have any complications. Since every pregnancy is unique we recommend that if you are unsure you consult a health professional before use.

{CB} And what if you have a coil (IUD)?

{TB} Yes, it’s also fine to use with a coil (IUD). {Elvie Trainer} is completely covered in medical grade silicone with no holes so it’s totally safe to use with the coil.

{CB} Can you talk to us about the app? What does it measure (and how does it work!).

{TB} Sure! {Elvie Trainer} connects to an app on your smartphone via Bluetooth. Using real-time biofeedback and a system of force and motion sensors, the app visualises your technique in response to your muscle movements and guides you through fun, five-minute workouts to build pelvic floor strength. As you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, a gem on the app lifts. The stronger you squeeze, the higher the gem lifts.

There are six different exercises designed to give your pelvic floor a complete workout and four different levels to work through as you improve. We ​worked with doctors and physiotherapists to create personalised training programmes and targets so that you can see improvements and track your scores. We also ‘game-ified’ the exercises to be fun and help motivate you to set a new personal best!

{CB} And finally, what’s the best bit of feedback you’ve had? Do you have an inspiring story/testimonial that you can share?

{TB} We hear back every day from women who say that {Elvie Trainer} has helped them regain bladder control, recover from pregnancy and get on with life without having to worry about accidental leakage. Pelvic floor strength is very intimate and women often get very emotional when they discover a solution to a problem that may have bothered them for years.

We recently heard from a woman who celebrated her first leak free day in 5 years after using {Elvie Trainer}! A woman that has been using Elvie Trainer for four months also said: “The improvements I’ve experienced are life-changing. I’m a mom of four kids and I can honestly say I’m stronger than I ever was. I enjoy sex more than I ever have. My confidence has increased. I feel like I have control of my health again.”

Thank you so much Tania! 



Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…